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Archive for the ‘secondary infertility’ Category

I know I said I wasn’t going to post for a while, but this particular thing has been eating at me, so I need to get this one out. This particular phrase, “it only takes one.” It hits me in my gut every time I hear it and I took a long time to figure out why exactly it hurt me so much. After all, it’s never meant to be hurtful when it’s said – it’s always said in an optimistic context.

Part of it, I think is simply because it is just a platitude that is meaningless until something comes of it. Worse, if I did get pregnant, the person who said it can say “I told you so,” and I’m not sure there ARE three more annoying words in the universe. Also it seems to invalidate whatever frustration I happen to be having at that particular moment in time – it says, “Yes, all your other embryos were crap, but your feelings about that are invalid, because all that matters is that one.” Certainly no one intends to send this message, though. So why does it bother me so much?

Finally, my beloved Barren put her finger on it in two ways. First, she said to me – yes, we all know it’s true – it’s only going to take one in the end, but platitudes don’t implant and make babies, so they don’t help. But later she said that really I should consider the math and think about it – and I would realize that, actually? It takes a heck of a lot more than one! And she’s right. Observe:

5 Clomid cycles, unmonitored, so I don’t know how many eggs, I ovulated, but we’ll assume at least one, because we do know I ovulated, so…5 cycles = 5 eggs, 0 pregnancies = 0 babies

5 IUI w/ Follistim Cycles = 11 eggs, 1 singleton pregnancy, 1 miscarriage = 0 babies

1 IUI w/ Follistim cycle = 30 follicles (not all mature, probably 5 mature), 1 triplet pregnancy = 3 babies

4 IVF cycle starts, 2 cancelled, 2 retrievals, 24 eggs retrieved, 17 fertilized, 2 transferred (1 at a time), 0 made it to freeze, 0 pregnancies = 0 babies.

So that’s … call it 45 eggs … 3 babies. So it actually takes about 15 to make a baby by my math.

Obviously it doesn’t work out to quite that math, but my point is that it’s taken a helluva a lot more than “one” to make a baby (or three, in my case). And in my 4 IVF attempts, I’ve made it to 2 retrievals and retrieved 24 eggs and gotten… zero babies. Clearly, it’s going to take more than one. Now, obviously, we haven’t found the “right” one – but there’s also no guarantee we ever will. And maybe the right one was already there, but we didn’t pick it.

I know that if I never get pregnant again, I’ve still been more blessed than I deserve to be. I know that many of you think that I have no right to even continue trying, let alone complain about our failures at this point. But this battle between primary and secondary infertility is ridiculous. These arbitrary decisions about the correct family sizes are equally ridiculous. We know our family isn’t complete, just as we know that we are blessed with the family we have. We are not blind to the blessings we have, nor to the suffering that people who haven’t made it to the other side are going through.

And the pain I feel in this loss is every bit as real as the pain I felt with each and every loss I felt the first time around.

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I’ve had a really hard time with this cycle, and Barren just “gets” it when a lot of other people just… don’t. I feel guilty about it, to be honest. I feel like I should have an easier time dealing with infertility by now. I’ve been there, done that. More importantly, I’m on the other side of it. I’ve got a beautiful family, as many people feel the need to remind me. Often. As if that means I should simply be satisfied and be done with.

And yet – I have not resolved my infertility. I have not come to terms with it. Every setback, every failure, every loss this time around hits me as hard, maybe harder, as the first go-around. I think this is partly because this time was supposed to be “easy”, or as easy as IVF ever is. And what we’ve found is that things just aren’t as straight-forward as we thought.

The point is, Barren gets me. She doesn’t try to placate me with “it only takes one”[1] and other such platitudes. She doesn’t tell me I’m being ridiculous. She doesn’t point to my children and suggest I should be satisfied with what I have. She recognizes that the pain I have the second time around is just as real as the first time around. She tells me to stop apologizing for complaining at her. She brings me wine so we can whine over wine together.

So I suppose it should have come as no surprise to me when a beautiful, flowery package arrived in my mailbox today, and I saw that it was from my wonderful friend. I opened it up and found this:

The note made me a little sniffly and teary eyed, and though I haven’t asked her permission to reproduce it here, I’m going to take a gamble and do so anyway:

Dearest Perky,
Thank you again for your friendship and generosity. I hope that someday soon I will have the chance to return the kindness with more than a bottle of wine and the ability to eat your delicious dinners.
I know you aren’t feeling hopeful about this cycle, but if a tiny bit of hope (or
curiosity) creeps in, I want you to be prepared.
Love,
Barren

I knew what would be inside the beautiful, dragonfly wrapping [2] paper, but I burst out laughing when I opened it up:

Thanks, my friend. Laughter truly is the best medicine. I don’t promise to use those lovely (but very tempting) tests. But I promise to pass them back to you if I don’t. Or maybe use them next cycle when I can muster up the hope to think it’s worth wasting a precious FRER.

Barren, you truly are the best person in the entire universe. So… dinner Thursday? 😉

———————
[1] Coming soon: a Barren-inspired post on the “It Only Takes One” math and how flawed it truly is.

[2]How did she know that dragonflies are one of my favorite things in the universe? I swear she and I are just the same person. Except she’s way cuter and always has an adorable pedicure, and I’ve never had a pedicure in my life.

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Man, I gotta tell you, I thought I missed those 7am monitoring appointments, but I was wrong. What the frick, man? This was a lot easier before when I could roll out of bed and drive there without any responsibilities at home before walking out the door. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. I most certainly am not. It’s just different, this time.

A lot of people talk about the difference between their experiences with primary and secondary infertility. I don’t think of it that way for me. For me, this is no different. I still suffer from exactly the same conditions of the primary infertility that sent me down this road the first time; I just happen to have children now. It’s different than if I’d had no difficulty conceiving the first time around (i.e. no primary infertility) and then found myself afflicted with infertility in trying to have another child (suddenly found myself with unexpected secondary infertility). But for me, this so-called “secondary” infertility is merely an extension of the same, and I hate the distinction – it belittles the experience; makes it seem less valid in a way, and frankly, it isn’t.

If anything, this experience is just as intense as the last one, but for different reasons. This time I pulled out the big guns, so while I may have been able to remain more emotionally detached (after all, if this fails miserably, can’t I take some solace in what I do have waiting for me at home?) had I been doing IUIs – the stakes are higher this time. The drugs are more intense, the regimen is stricter, the attention to detail is greater. My emotional response is artificially inflated. My ability to focus on the myriad of details that I need to focus on is understandably reduced. My stress level is increased. It is simply a different experience.

Anyway, I had my monitoring appointment at seven frickin’ o’clock this morning. Dracula only had to stab me once this time, though the little bugger dug around in there for a good bit. He reuses the same spot every time, because it’s the only spot he can get a vein in. I swear I’m going to have the biggest darned bruise on that arm by the time this cycle is done. Then into an U/S room. Last time M (sonographer extraordinaire) walked in on me before I’d even gotten my skirt off, so I hurried out of my clothes and jumped up on the table, my heart racing and then sat… and sat… fortunately I had a good book with me (The Memory Keeper’s Daughter, have you read it? I just started it, but it’s captivating) And, in she walked.

Now, I hate to be the complainer and all (sarcasm), but seriously, I’ve been gone two years now. And in those two years, they still have not hung a mobile in Room 1. Dr. S. (not my doc) brags that he personally hung all of the mobiles in all of the U/S rooms, and good for him, but hello? Room 1 does not have a mobile. And every time I saw him in the two years that I went to Ye Olde Fertility Clinic, I congratulated him on his efforts to give women something pretty to look at in the U/S rooms, and then I gave him hell for not hanging one in Room 1. Now he’s had two whole additional years to make this right and has he? NO!

Dr. S. was on call for monitoring today, but he didn’t come into my room, so M got to hear my (good natured) rant about it. She told me to give him some crap about it – but I never saw him, unfortunately. Oh, but I’ll get my chance! Oh yes I will! With the blogosphere as my witness, if I have to buy a mobile and hang it myself, by the time I’m done with Ye Olde Fertility Clinic, there will be a mobile in Room 1! (I was thinking maybe this one, what do you think?)

Anywhozit, M and I had a lovely conversation whilst she perused my ovaries. I love M – she is what makes Ye Olde Fertility Clinic entirely tolerable. M and my nurse, really. Love them both. We gave one of my follicles a stern talking to because I didn’t like the looks of its dominance. So M poked it and told it to cut it out. She also warned the little buggers that they’d better turn into a singleton. And expressed a preference on sex (but I won’t state that here lest my child someday find out that I had a preference).

I had four good sized follicles on either side, and a bunch of others that she counted but didn’t measure (I lost count, can’t remember). I feel like 8 good sized follicles at this stage of the game isn’t a lot. It worries me, but it’s also early, so we’ll just have to see what they decide to do. The follicles are measuring:

Right: 11.5, 8.5, 8.7, and 6.9
Left: 8.1, 8.4, 8.1, and 6.6

I don’t know yet what they’ll do about my meds or next appointment. They’ll either screw up and tell me to come in on Saturday (no can do, doc), or they’ll let me wait until Sunday. It’s possible that the compromise will be that I have to go back in tomorrow and back in on Sunday. We’ll see. I used to be able to very accurately predict what they’d do to my medication doses after each monitoring appointment, but all bets are off on this one – I have absolutely no idea what they’re going to do to me. I’m thinking they’ll keep me the same? But who knows. For all I know they’ll double it. (Kidding)

I hope I don’t have to go in tomorrow. My kids have speech therapy at 7:30am. Gah.

P.S. Lupron headaches still suck mightily

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